En EspaŅol

Q. Who is Mr. Smarty Plants?

A: There are those who suspect Wildflower Center volunteers are the culpable and capable culprits. Yet, others think staff members play some, albeit small, role. You can torture us with your plant questions, but we will never reveal the Green Guru's secret identity.

Help us grow by giving to the Plant Database Fund or by becoming a member

Did you know you can access the Native Plant Information Network with your web-enabled smartphone?

Share

Ask Mr. Smarty Plants

Ask Mr. Smarty Plants is a free service provided by the staff and volunteers at the Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center.

Search Smarty Plants
    
 
See a list of all Smarty Plants questions
Can't find the answer in our existing FAQs, submit a question to Mr. Smarty Plants.
Need help with plant identification, visit the plant identification page.
 
rate this answer
1 rating

Monday - July 27, 2009

From: Grenada, MS
Region: Southeast
Topic: Best of Smarty, Non-Natives, Watering
Title: Why is my Weeping Fig crying leaves?
Answered by: Joe Marcus

QUESTION:

I have a weeping fig that I bought Memorial day in Birmingham, Al. It has 8 or 9 trunks growing altogether. It sits on a porch with eastern exposure, only about 2 hours of sun. It has been losing leaves steadily since I got it. They turn yellow and then fall off. I was watering it daily. Now I water it about once a week. But the leaves are still falling off. Could it be our bad water that is spoiling the plant? Thanks for any help you can give me.

ANSWER:

Weeping fig, Ficus benjamina is not a North American native plant species and is outside our area of expertise.  However, we may be able to help some. 

Mr. Smarty Plants once saw a cartoon of a weeping fig with the caption, "Ficus benjamina - Latin for, its leaves fall off."  Leaf drop is a universal truth of this species.  It will drop leaves in response to just about any change in its environmental condition: light, water, air temperature, relative humidity, you name it.  Leaf drop is a weeping fig's way of saying, "I don't like being messed with!"  Fortunately, ficuses rarely show any ill-effect from their leaf-shedding.  They usually soon produce new leaves and going on doing whatever the heck it is that ficuses do all day.  Watering once a week sounds about right.

 

 

More Best of Smarty Questions

Growing Native Plants in Juniper litter from Wimberley, TX
October 04, 2010 - Junipers create an environment under their canopy that prohibits growth of other plants. I have a virgin lot that has been cleared of many juniper but has remaining heavy natural leaf mold containing...
view the full question and answer

Planting trees to use carbon dioxide
September 06, 2007 - How many trees must we plant to use carbon dioxide produced by the average American in a year?
view the full question and answer

Burn the wetlands
June 02, 2010 - Can the wetlands of Louisiana that have been soaked in oil be burned? I am a native plant gardener in the midwest. Burning is a natural process in the prairie. Southerners are not used to this and ma...
view the full question and answer

Using Bumelia for Firewood
February 25, 2011 - I have 2 trees in my yard that I think are Gum Bullies. They're tall (25 feet) and straight, thorny, leaves look like live oak, but they're deciduous. I need to remove them and wondered if I could...
view the full question and answer

Is there an automated image download function for the NPIN Image Gallery?
November 03, 2009 - Hi, I have a database/web technical question. Do you provide an interface to retrieve photos from your website programatically? Thanks!
view the full question and answer

Support the Wildflower Center by Donating Online or Becoming a Member today.
E-NEWSLETTER | BECOME A MEMBER | DONATE NOW | MEDIA | SITEMAP | STAFF
© 2016 Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center